By Aaron Turner
SAN FRANCISCO - As one the largest colleges in the United States, City College of San Francisco has produced countless talented individuals from all aspects of professional and artistic life. For former women's tennis player Emmy Nicdao-Goldstein, working as a medical assistant at the women's health center of San Francisco General Hospital means putting her own health directly in harm's way.
Nicdao-Goldstein, who graduated from CCSF in 2012, with an Associates of Science degree, eventually found herself working in the medical field.
"Originally I was gonna be a medical biller, but I did a clinical internship and never looked back. It was a dream of mine to work in a hospital and women’s health," Nicdao-Goldstein said. "Mainly I want to help the underserved population. Not only patients, I love working with an amazing group of providers. I consider myself their 'right hand'".
Prior to studying and playing tennis at City College, Nicdao-Goldstein admitted that she hadn't seen herself as a college athlete.
"I never had thoughts of playing college tennis, I came from a small high school with only a junior varsity team," she said. "The team was full of first timers, I started when I was in 8th grade, just a little late to the game. When I got to City, I took a beginner's tennis class. I thought, hey I need a fun class so why not? The rest is history."
While working in any capacity during the global coronavirus pandemic is certainly both a risk and a hardship, Nicdao-Goldstein admits that not beng able to see or spend time with her family may be the most difficult aspect that she is currently experiencing.
"I always see my mom every Sunday, I call it my 'mommy day,'" she said. "We go to church then help her with errands and just hang out. I always look forward to this time because not only do I get to see my dad and sister, but she always relaxes me before another work week. This month will be harder because not only is it Mother’s Day but it’s also her birthday. Not being able to physically be with her to celebrate breaks my heart. I have to do this because I don’t want to risk getting her sick."
At San Francisco General, all employees are given a fresh mask and asked to sanitize hands before entering the building. Next, they must go through a daily health screening, where they're asked if they have any symptoms of the coronavirus, before having their temperature taken. As a women's health specialist, Nicdao-Goldstein is tasked specifically on working with a lot women who are pregnant, elevating the risk factor even more.
"There's always feeling of uncertainty when going in to work," Nicdao-Goldstein said. "I don’t know if I’m being exposed or not. I always have to stay calm and positive. My main focus is patient care. I can’t let them see it because they're already scared coming in to their appointment."
In addition to her daily work with patients, Nicdao-Goldstein also said that she has been tasked with screening fellow employees, prior to them starting their shift.